Saturday, June 22, 2013


This morning's gatherings.

With talk of the temperature rising this afternoon, I headed out to gather calendula blossoms and some lavender for wand weaving later this afternoon.  Things went very differently than what I had in mind, but in a good way.
First stop was the blueberry patch, followed by the gooseberry plants.  Maybe I should head over along the side of the woods and see if there are any black raspberries ready?
Black raspberries are our favorite berry with a flavor all their own.  A childhood memory...

A magnificent stand of blooming motherwort has established itself along the path, and I will be back to cut some later.  Lucky thing, because my usual stand got in the way of a project this spring, and there's only a few plants left there.
At the end of the path at the far end of the field, there are a couple of mulberry trees I hadn't thought about for years, so I pulled down a branch and picked a few to eat and stick in the basket for later.  Doing so, there was a rustle a few feet to my left, about a foot above my head... after which a juvenile ground hog plunked to the ground and looked at me.  We locked eyes for a few moments, and then I think he realized I was that woman his parents had been talking about because he took off running, scurrying under the giant burdock leaves.  I'm not sure which of us was more startled, honestly.
Munstead lavender.  A shot of the little groundhog would be apropos, but we prefer lavender!  Little cuss...

While all this has been taking place, Bob has come out to work in the fields with the tractor, removing stumps, straightening rows, and whatever else he does out there.  He is a virtuoso on large equipment.  I swear, that man could pluck a single daisy with a backhoe, BUT he doesn't much notice things like people while he's working so I cut him a wide berth.
Finally arriving back at the garden patch we have planted this year, the calendula are basking in the sunlight.  The row of white sage beside it is really loving this plot, and has reached a bushy, lush 18" while the rows of lavender, rose geranium, and patchouli are looking pretty good too.  The resiny flowers plop into the basket one by one as my fingers get ever stickier.
The calendula flowers couldn't be more beautiful!

My mind was on the wild yarrow I'd seen on my way to the field.  I forgot all about the long-stemmed wand lavender, and headed to the yarrow.  Wishing I'd brought clippers, I gathered a good quantity because I've been wanting to distill it for years.  My friend Marcia Elston of Winged Seed kindly pointed out to me that the still shouldn't be more than half full of plant material, so there is plenty out there.
Yarrow packed in the still, ready for my return.

The last stop was at the side garden to gather up the Munstead lavender that will be used in teas over the winter.  The sweet purple blossoms are the very best of the varieties that over-winter here for things like that.
Now it's back down to the soap shed to cut the batches of soap we made last night, and then I can come home and fire up the still.  Can't wait to see how this turns out.

And so the madness of summer begins!


Marcia Elston said...

Let me know how your yarrow distillation goes. That lovely blue hydrosol will work nicely in a soap, I think, and you should get some, maybe just a wee, bit of the oil. This year, I am digging all the yarrow that has sprouted around here into one big bed under a snowbush. This will be a lovely moon garden. We're no doubt a step behind for distilling; I've got a few weeks to go. Happy Summer!

Tina Sams said...

Wow - I thought there was no way a hydrosol would get a color, and this is very faint, looking like the mason jar is an antique with just a touch of blue to it! Cool! No oil though. But I may do it again with more plant material.
My front yard would be about 1/2 yarrow if we didn't cut it, and it is everywhere here if you look. I even found some today with pale pink flowers - stunning!


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